Fraidy Hawk

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I was just putting the mower away last night when I heard the martins going crazy. Perched on a pine limb about 100' from the gourds was a small hawk, a Sharp Shinned I believe. I ran upstairs and out onto the deck to run him off but was surprised at what took place. From the moment he took flight until he went out of sight he was covered up by a flock of angry martins backed up by at least a dozen Tree Swallows. I almost felt sorrow for the guy but not quite!
Posts: 2216
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2004 1:58 pm
Location: TX/Alvin
Martin Colony History: Erected 1st house in 1997. Birds were checking it out before Mike got down from the ladder. Six cavities had a little colony 1st year. Grown to 88 cavities all gourds with near 100% occupancy. Most important factor for success is rain = bugs.

Oh, I do feel sorry for them. They have to eat and feed their young. They are not predators by choice. I don't like to lose even one Purple Martin for any reason - but, if some of them must die, I would rather they feed a beautiful hawk and its family than to die wastefully at the mercy of a Starling or a Sparrow. :evil:

I see the "let's gang up and get him" behavior at my colony almost every day. I have seen no indication that an adult PM has been taken this year by predation - but, I know we have lost several fledglings. In the past two weeks, when I'm there evenings and weekends, I know of 3 successful attacks. So, I don't know how many more may have been taken when I'm at work.

It's interesting to note that the successful attacks didn't occur until after our first three nests had left. I honestly believe that the vigilance of the older ASY Purple Martins thwarted the attacks of the hawks as long as they were here. Now that they have moved on with their fledglings - the next generation of ASY PMs is learning the difficult lesson of constant vigilance and the price you pay when you let down your guard.
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